This month's Blog Banter comes from Drackarn of Sand, Cider and Spaceships. He has foolishly chosen to poke the hornet's nest that is the non-consensual PvP debate. Whilst you read his question, I'll be finding a safe place to hide.
"A quick view of the Eve Online forums can always find someone complaining about being suicide ganked, whining about some scam they fell for or other such tears. With the Goons' Ice Interdiction claiming a vast amount of mining ships, there were calls for an "opt out of PvP" option.
Should this happen? Should people be able to opt-out of PvP in Eve Online. Should CONCORD prevent crime rather than just handing out justice after the event? Or do the hi-sec population already have too much protection from the scum and villainy that inhabits the game?"
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How many subscriptions are lost because of suicide ganking, a practice in which players with so much ISK to afford to throw away ships on a constant basis "just for the tears"? How many new players quit in disgust when they are trying to mine to start out and a Thrasher comes in and pops them before CONCORD shows up?
Even without insurance payments if killed by CONCORD, suicide ganking in belts and at gates is rampant in Eve. We talk so proudly about how there is no levels in Eve and players can all mix together and even new players can contribute to a fleet, but then ignore how ISK creates a barrier between new and old where old can throw away ships in suicide ganks with nary a second thought while new players are devastated by the resulting loss.
So yes, I think there should be some minor for of protection from PvP in certain situations.
Its not like CONCORD doesn't already impact what you can and cannot do. Your ship can't even activate bomb launchers or bubbles in low sec, you can't activate smart bombs near stations, you can't cloak when being chased by NPC police even when they are not on grid with you, etc. So it makes sense that they would build in some override commands to prevent your ship from targeting other ships with what I'm calling an Isolation Matrix.
Here's how the Isolation Matrix works.
Its automatically installed on all Tech I sub-capital ships (i.e. not faction, Tech II, Tech III, or capital ships). Its on by default and can be manually turned off by right clicking on your ship and choosing Configure Ship, then a window comes up with a check box for activating or deactivating it.
While it is on, your ship cannot be targeted by any other player for any reason. Your row in other player's overview shows as grey to indicate you are not a valid target and anyone that tried to target you will get a message stating "You cannot target a ship with an Isolation Matrix active".
The isolation matrix will be deactivated if you perform one of the following actions:
- steal from someone's can or wreck
- target another player or player owned structure
- join a fleet
- activate smart bomb, ECM burst
- jump or undock or log on into a 0.5 security status or lower system
- launch scan probes
- are not in a NPC corporation1- your sec status is below zero
- fit faction or Tech II modules on the ship
Anytime an action will cause the Isolation Matrix to deactive is about to be performed, a message box will pop up informing the player of this fact and if they want to proceed, much like the loss of security status.
The idea is that the active Isolation Matrix will allow a player to experience Eve without the threat of immediate annihilation and that by the time you've started to branch out into fleets and player corps or lower sec space that you have learned enough to be aware of the threat of suicide ganks. At the same time, they don't have the ability to act as an invulnerable scout. At best they can mine or mission in relative peace, and because the restrictions on the Isolation Matrix are pretty severe for an experience player, it will be mainly new players with limited resources that will benefit.
1 - I considered limiting it to only the starting newbie NPC corporations. Also, idea for marking footnotes shamelessly stolen from Ripard Teg or one of his robots.
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My knee jerk reaction when I read the blog banter topic was "hell no, your undock button is your pvp flag!" like a lot of other posts (heck, all of them?!) are going to be. I decided to actually sit down and think about the subject and try to play the devil's advocate and come up with something that prevents suicide ganking, a practice I find abhorrent from an immersion breaking perspective, from impacting the players least able to deal with its occurrence, especially when the suicide ganking is being done by the players most capable of absorbing losses (i.e. people with ISK to throw away ships).
If you read this post and are filled with consuming hatred of me, please don't bother commenting. If you disagree (or agree, but I doubt that) with my idea, please comment with your points.